Discourse related to sex excites passion and debate, partly because sexuality is a central aspect of what it means to be human. Following up on his recent book on sexuality in the Septuagint, William Loader here explores what the Christian Gospels and related writings have to say about sexuality, how they reflect the faith and social values of their day, and what impact they've had on our own.Sexuality and the Jesus Tradition
is thorough in its investigation and compelling in its analyses. Loader examines all of the passages that convey views about sexuality in the Gospels and other first-century literature, including the Gospel of Thomas
, and the influence in Paul of the Jesus tradition. Among the interesting topics covered are attitudes concerning lust, perspectives on marriage and divorce, and views about celibacy. Loader shows how, despite the passing of two thousand years and massive social change, these ancient texts contain common issues that we still grapple with today.
"Sexuality and the Jesus Tradition has a very fresh approach, which does not proceed only along the usual well-worn tracks associated with the subject matter. . . A stimulating and challenging book, which deserves to be taken seriously."
John P. Meier
"Both academics and educated laypeople have come to expect high standards in William Loader's work: an admirable command of the vast scholarly literature dedicated to a particular question; a careful examination of the relevant texts; a clear, logical line of argument moving from evidence to conclusions; and an underlying pastoral concern to make the biblical texts speak to men and women today. All of these traits can be found in Loader's Sexuality and the Jesus Tradition. The relationship of sexuality and biblical religion is a highly contentious minefield of exegetical opinions and pastoral solutions that is not for the faint of heart. But Loader blazes a clear path through the labyrinth of interpretations, a path that will command respect even from those who in the end disagree with this or that position."
"Sexuality and the Jesus Tradition is an important study of the Gospels and Paul on issues of sexuality — particularly concerned with sexual passion, marriage, adultery, divorce, and celibacy. William Loader has already written on these issues. In this book he studies individual New Testament texts in the Jesus tradition and analyses them carefully, offering conclusions at each point. His exegesis of the text demonstrates an acute and sensitive awareness of the different cultural patterns that separate the modern from the ancient world. Loader's study is eminently scholarly, with a wealth of detail in the footnotes, covering difficult exegetical questions and issues of cultural anthropology. The extraordinary feature of this book, however, is that, for all its scholarly depth and precision, it is also accessible to the ordinary lay reader. . . This study is a 'must' for all those who wish to take seriously biblical understandings of sexuality yet wish to do so in a way that respects the ancient context out of which such teaching arises."
"This timely study directs readers concerned about early Christian teaching on sexuality to a somewhat broader range of texts than have usually dominated recent debate. Loader's careful, measured exploration of the individual passages, of their context, and of the history of the tradition behind them demonstrates how that tradition was reapplied in changing circumstances as well as how the original characteristics of Jesus' ministry may be recovered. Those who are familiar with the debates will find new and challenging suggestions and reflections here, while those who are less familiar with them will find that Loader's thorough exegetical analysis offers a clear guide that is never superficial. Sexuality and the Jesus Tradition is essential reading both for students and scholars of the early church and for those wrestling with issues related to sexuality in the contemporary church."